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5 things to know about Japanese indices


Japan is very much on TOPIX

Japan, as we said here, is becoming an increasingly attractive investment destination. House prices are rising, consumption is picking up and earnings per share are growing faster than in any other major market. Japan still appears quite cheap, with discounts vs. world stocks higher than normal. Some of Shinzo Abe’s arrows finally appear to have hit at least some of their targets. He could be firing more soon. 


Index exploration​

Flows rebounded strongly in September, after outflows in August, but the rush to the land of the rising sun is not without its subtleties. The major indices come in various shapes and sizes, so it’s important you know why you’re really investing in Japan. What you think of its prospects matters an awful lot when it comes to choosing your index. 


How the flows look

How the flows look

*Source: Lyxor Cross Asset Research, as at 6 october  2017*Please note that eurozone yields are represented by 10yr bund in the yield segment

The figures relating to future performance are a forecast and are not a reliable indicator of future results.



Mapping it out: 5 things to know about Japanese indices: 

This simple guide below should help you find the right option:


  • 1- They derive their revenues from different places

The higher an index’s share of domestic revenue, the less sensitive it is to movements in the yen. SGQJ offers the greater domestic exposure, while the TOPIX offers exposure to the full Japanese economy, which matters if you think recovery will be broad-based or if you’re backing the yen to strengthen from here. More yen weakness would ordinarily point to the Nikkei 225, but you might miss out on the domestic recovery/reflation story. 

They derive their revenues from different places

Soucre: Factset, Bloomberg & SG Quantitative Research as at 30  September 2017


  • 2- They view sectors differently

SGQJ excludes financials entirely, while the other indices have exposures that reflect their domestic, or their export, focus. The differences aren’t always too great however.

They view sectors differently

Source: Factset, Bloomberg & SG Quantitative Research as at 30  September 2017


  • 3- They come in all shapes & sizes

The SGQJ does not use any size weighting in its methodology, leading to much more of a small-cap bias. As a result, it is also more growth-oriented than the market cap indices. Choosing a quality income play doesn’t have to mean limiting your participation in a recovery.

The JPX-Nikkei 400 index consists of companies expected to deliver shareholder value. Using measures such as efficient use of capital and good corporate governance, the Index aims to provide investors with high quality exposures. If you believe Japan’s corporate culture is changing as it should, this could be the index for you.

They come in all shapes & sizes

  1. Source:Factset, Bloomberg & SG Quantitative Research as at 30  September 2017


  • 4- Some concentrate more than others


The TOPIX gives you the broadest exposure to Japan but its small-cap exposures do add some risk. The Nikkei 225 is by far the most top-heavy of the indices. Its pricing methodology and lower number of constituents make it more volatile than the others as well.

Some concentrate more than others

  1. Source: Factset, Bloomberg & SG Quantitative Research as at 30  September 2017


  • 5- Managers find them hard to beat

 Over 10 years, fewer than 1 in 5 managers have outperformed the TOPIX

Managers find them hard to beat

Source: Bloomberg, Morningstar 30  September 2017


Risk Warning

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CAPITAL AT RISK: ETFs are tracking instruments: Their risk profile is similar to a direct investment in the Underlying Index. Investors’ capital is fully at risk and investors may not get back the amount originally invested. 

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Research disclaimer

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